Surely more than once you have heard of the magic of " detox " diets . You may have even experienced them, or been tempted to do one, because you wanted to lose a few pounds at the speed of light for the summer or an upcoming wedding. Well, the idea that a juice, compared to solid foods, has magical properties is completely unfounded . If that were the case, beings like cows and rabbits, whose diet is 100% raw vegan, would be immune to toxins, and this is not exactly the case.
Leaving aside smoothies based on fruits, vegetables and superfoods, so fashionable in the fitness /health industry that it is especially cruel to women, today I want to place special emphasis on an increasingly common condition in modern human beings. : estrogen dominance . This condition refers to an imbalance of one or more of the following elements :
If you want to know how to help your liver to perform all its functions correctly , and thus improve your hormonal imbalances (whether you are a woman or a man), I invite you to stay until the end and leave your comment if you have any questions about it. .
- estrogen and progesterone
- Protective (E3) and aggressive (E1 and E2) estrogens .
- Too many "dirty" metabolites created from the breakdown of estrone (E1)
How does your liver work?
The liver is the great detoxifying organ, but it cannot do all the work alone . It needs us to lend a hand to get rid of those substances, internal and external, that pose a threat to our health. Our liver performs more than 500 vital functions. Among them is the conversion of excess glucose into storage glycogen (energy source). In this article I want to highlight its detoxifying and elimination function . What toxins does the liver eliminate?
- Waste substances produced in the intestine. The liver produces bile that allows the transport of wastes and the breakdown of fats during digestion.
- Converts toxic ammonia to urea . Urea is one of the end products of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine.
- Purges bilirubin . An excess of bilirubin would cause the skin and eyes to be yellowish in tone.
Inactivation of hormones for their subsequent elimination through the kidney . Part of the excess estrogen ( the main female hormone that men also have ) is eliminated through the liver. Its excess accumulation is responsible for multiple pathologies and hormonal alterations such as severe Premenstrual Syndrome or breast and ovarian cancer. In the case of men, it can cause gynecomastia, that is, the increase in the mammary glands.
- Drugs, additives, pesticides and environmental contaminants .
Endocrine disruptors . Endocrine disruptors are exogenous chemical substances that are capable of acting like hormones and, therefore, interfering in the processes mediated by them, generating hormonal imbalances. The most common are bisphenol, phthalates, pesticides, herbicides and parabens , and we usually find them in plastics, artificial cosmetics, non-stick pans or feminine hygiene products. Most people have traces of many of these toxins in their blood , and today we already know their close link with metabolic problems such as obesity.
- Alcohol. 20% of the alcohol we ingest is absorbed in the stomach and 80% in the small intestine. Subsequently, it passes into the blood and the liver cells are in charge of its metabolism.
How is the process of elimination of toxic substances?
As a detox expert, the liver does its job primarily in two phases . In each of them different enzymatic processes will be protagonists. Enzymes
are molecules that regulate certain biochemical reactions and that we can balance through our diet and lifestyle.
Phase 1 Detox
Through reduction-oxidation and hydrolysis reactions , toxins are neutralized. This is thanks to the vitally important P450 enzymes , whose activity varies in each person depending on their genetic and nutritional conditions. Certain foods like grapefruit juice inhibit the action of P450 enzymes . More than 80 drugs can be toxic if taken together with grapefruit juice, since it weakens the detoxifying capacity of the liver. Yet another reason why you should not believe a word about "the miracles of detox juices".
Phase 2 Detox
It is the transformation process that allows the elimination of substances through bile or urine . It consists of the reactions of: conjugation, sulfation, methylation, acetylation and glucuronidation.
This enzymatic process rids us of excess cortisol, histamine, and estrogen
. Its malfunction predisposes to:
Symptoms of slow methylation
- Cardiovascular diseases
- heart attacks
- Chronic pain
- High sensitivity to caffeine
- Pain in the jaw joint
- Altered analytical values: Homocysteine, folic acid, Vitamin B12, erythrocyte magnesium and methylmalonic acid.
To speed up the methylation process it will be necessary to reduce the consumption of histamine
. This substance is found mainly in citrus foods such as chocolate, dairy products, coffee, nuts or smoked and canned fish, meat, fermented vegetables and vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, spinach and chard .
I recommend are:
- Methylated B vitamins
- Digestive enzymes
- Betaine and Pepsin or trimethylglycine, in case you have symptoms of lack of hydrochloric acid (reflux, heartburn, heaviness after meals)
- Probiotic strains containing Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium spp and Lactobacillus reuteri involved in the production of folic acid and vitamin B12
- N-Acetylcysteine or glutathione, if homocysteine is not lowered by B vitamin supplementation
- Omega 3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA
Sulfation enzymes are key, especially in liver estrogen breakdown
. You know you sulfate slowly
- You eat asparagus and your urine smells very strong
- Repeat the garlic and onion
- Wine gives you headaches
- You have polycystic ovaries or menstrual cycle irregularities
- You have acne
- In analytics you present the following characteristics:
- DHEA > than DHEA-sulfate
- Copper is above normal and zinc is below normal
- Androstenedione is relatively high
- Total cholesterol and uric acid are relatively low
How to speed up the sulphation process
: Do not abuse fasting
. It will be more beneficial for you to help the sulphation enzymes daily by incorporating foods such as green beans, pumpkin seeds, cochayuyo seaweed, octopus, squid and cuttlefish. Tahini
or sesame seeds are another great ally. Likewise, do not overdo the use of foods that hinder sulfation
. These are orange, onion, garlic and apple (SULT1A1 inhibitors). Avoid foods rich in salicylates (curry, turmeric, paprika, coffee, tea, rosemary, thyme, etc.) In addition, it will be important that you take care of your exposure to environmental toxins
that also slow down sulfation:
- The pesticides that we find in non-organic fruits and vegetables.
- Phthalates such as DBP or DEHP, present in perfumes, nail polish, lacquer, hair dyes, plastics.
- Supplements that contain sulfate groups
- Vitamin A
- ginger in capsules
In this process, the body eliminates excess bilirubin, medications, and environmental toxins .
Symptoms of a slow glucuronidation :
To combat it, I recommend:
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- body itches
- concentration difficulty
- Increase fermented foods, citrus fruits, legumes like soybeans, and spices like turmeric
- Practice constant exercise, rest and expose yourself to sunlight daily
- Avoid, as far as possible, taking medications
Detox process: where do I start?
Minimize your exposure to toxins
Too obvious, right? If you do not want to force your body to be permanently fighting toxins , the first thing you have to do is avoid your exposure: alcohol, unnecessary drugs, processed foods rich in sugar and vegetable oils. I recommend you start with some habits such as prioritizing glass containers and reducing the use of plastics .
pamper your gut
When the toxins reach the intestine they are almost out of the body. The real problem comes if they cross the intestine and pass into the blood
. To avoid this there are 3 key factors:
Bowel movement . If you don't go to the bathroom daily, consider supplementing with magnesium citrate, or incorporate 2-4 tablespoons of ground seeds into your morning smoothie. A daily evacuation (or even twice) is key to keeping the toxic load low.
Take care of your microbiota . Your microorganisms participate in the defense against toxins. Be sure to incorporate fermented products (probiotics) and prebiotics such as resistant starch or fiber into your diet. Remember that having a juice instead of a piece of fruit does not provide you with the beneficial fiber for your microbiota.
Protect your intestinal barrier . To do this, avoid regular consumption of pro-inflammatory foods such as gluten or casein. Instead, prioritize glutamine -rich dishes like bone broth.
pamper your liver
Ensuring adequate glutathione levels is one of the best gifts you can give your liver. Glutathione is the antioxidant par excellence, and it has an important role in both phases. People who have the MTHFR gene mutation have trouble regulating homocysteine levels correctly. If you are considering a glutathione supplement , I recommend that you prioritize its precursors, instead of supplementing directly. These are cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine.
Consume foods rich in sulfates as they are a key element in Phase II detox. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onion and garlic stand out, as do animal proteins such as eggs.
Consume essential nutrients for good methylation :
- Vitamin B9
- B12 vitamin
- Vitamin B6
- vitamin B2
We start from the basis that food provides all the necessary energy and nutrients . Therefore, if your diet is balanced and according to what you need, you will not need any supplementation. That being said, there are certain supplements that can help and especially when trying to restore our hormonal balance . Some of my office favorites to address all pathways of liver detoxification are:
These supplements used together allow a complete estrogen metabolism for its subsequent elimination. But remember, none of this makes sense if you don't accompany it with a diet that promotes hormonal balance .
- DIM: support for Phase I
- Sulforaphane: support sulfation (Phase II) to promote the increase in "protective" estrogens (E3)
- D Calcium glucarate: support for glucuronidation (Phase II) to favor the elimination of “aggressive” estrogens (E1 and E2)
You can add herbals such as milk thistle or milk thistle , traditionally used to treat liver disorders. Of them we are interested in their active component, silymarin
Other important aspects. Go further.
We have focused on basic concepts of physiology and nutrition, but your health depends on many other factors. Two key aspects in the detox process of your liver are:
Physical activity and sweat . Movement is a crucial element to improve circulation and oxygenation in any detoxification process. A consequence derived from physical activity is sweating , another way of eliminating toxins. Even so, keep in mind that the purpose of sweating is not to eliminate toxins but to regulate body temperature. Everything adds up but you will eliminate more toxins through a correct bowel movement than in the sauna.
fasting Brief fasting (12-16 h) promotes autophagy , our natural cellular recycling system . This ancient tool is actually responsible for many of the benefits attributed to the famous " detox diets". But of course, it seems that it is not the most astute thing to recommend fasting if you want to earn money, hence the "need" to recommend this type of detox juice.
- "Calcium-D-glucarate". Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutics. 2002.
- Omar I. Vivar, Elise F. Saunier, Dale C. Leitman, Gary L. Firestone, Leonard F. Bjeldanes, Selective Activation of Estrogen Receptor-β Target Genes by 3,3′-Diindolylmethane, Endocrinology. April 2010.
- Gong, Yixuan et al. "3,3′-Diindolylmethane is a novel mitochondrial H(+)-ATP synthase inhibitor that can induce p21(Cip1/Waf1) expression by inducing oxidative stress in human breast cancer cells." Cancer research. 2006.
- Dalessandri, Kathie M et al. "Pilot study: effect of 3,3′-diindolylmethane supplementation on urinary hormonal metabolites in postmenopausal women with a history of early-stage breast cancer". Nutrition and cancer. 2004.
- Wszelaki, M. Overcoming Estrogen Dominance. New Type Publishing. 2020.
- Zahid, Muhammad et al. "The greater reactivity of estradiol-3,4-quinone vs estradiol-2,3-quinone with DNA in the formation of depurinating adducts: implications for tumor-initiating activity". Chemical research in toxicology. 2006.
- Gee, Jason R et al. "Phase Ib, placebo-controlled, tissue biomarker trial of diindolylmethane (BR-DIMNG) in patients with prostate cancer undergoing prostatectomy". European Journal of Cancer Prevention – The official journal of the European Organization for Cancer Prevention (ECP). 2016.
- Xu, Yali et al. "Effect of estrogen sulfation by SULT1E1 and PAPSS on the development of estrogen-dependent cancers". Cancer science. 2012.
- Liu, Xiaojiao, and Kezhen Lv. "Cruciferous vegetable intake is inversely associated with breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis". Breast (Edinburgh, Scotland). 2013).
- Fox YES. Human Physiology, 10th edition, Editorial Interamericana/McGraw-Hill, Madrid, 2008.